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Old August 17, 2014, 10:04 AM   #1
snowy
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New Rifle, What can be causing this at 20 yards?

I was sighting my new 35 Whelen Handi Rifle in yesterday and look at the holes. What can be causing the bullet to tumble ? The rifling looks good.
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Could it be I need heavier bullets?
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:28 AM   #2
Retread7
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My first thought is your barrel is for a different (and larger) caliber. I know this sounds dumb. A friend of mine managed to to fire 9mm in a .40 Glock. The target resembled yours.
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:34 AM   #3
g.willikers
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Yeah, size check the bullets and your barrel.
That ain't right.
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:34 AM   #4
Bart B.
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The barrel may well be a .400 Whelen and the bullets don't fill the hole in the barrel. That's happened before with someone shooting a .270 Win. round in a .30-06 chambered barrel.

Measure the bore diameter at the muzzle with calipers and you'll find out.

Or, believe it or not, someone put smaller caliber rounds in that box.
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:35 AM   #5
snowy
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I checked the barrel and it's stamped 35 Whelen.
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:39 AM   #6
Bart B.
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Measure the bullet diameter. It should be about .358". If they are that, then the barrel's bore is way oversize for some reason.
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:40 AM   #7
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I don't think so. If anything you'd need lighter (shorter) bullets. Even though 180's are light for caliber, since they're TSX (all copper) they're fairly long for weight.
A heavier bullet would require a tighter twist to stabilize and would be more likely to tumble. You wont get sideways bullets with light bullets unless they're not engaging the rifling, which could be a possibility. But, chances are, that heavier bullets wont engage either since their diameter is no bigger.

How's the crown look?
Also something that confuses me...Barnes only makes one .35 cal 180 grain bullet and it's the TTSX, not TSX. And it's a boat tail. Your box says FB, which I assume is flat based. That's throwing me off a little.

Have you tried any other ammo through this rifle? What are the results with it? I'm maybe thinking that the factory may have mistakenly loaded some 8mm or .338 cal bullets instead of .35's in this particular box. Or your bore is oversized for some reason.

Take one of those bullets out of the box and try inserting the bullet into the muzzle of the gun being careful not to damage the crown. See if it slides in easily, or doesn't touch the rifling at all. The bullet should not slip into the barrel easily.

Last edited by JD0x0; August 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM.
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
I checked the barrel and it's stamped 35 Whelen.

SNOWY: It don't make much difference what is stamped on the barrel, something ain't right.
Either the bullets are too small for the caliber or the bore is too large for the bullets.
STOP shooting the thing until you figure it out.

Is the barrel a standard or custom made barrel?
It's very possible it was bored to .400 Whelen as mentioned.
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:50 AM   #9
Bart B.
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Or rebored to a .375 Whelen; I shot one once. Just once because the 300-gr. bullet make that 8-pound rifle kick way too much for me wearing a T-shirt.
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Old August 17, 2014, 10:57 AM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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That's got nothing to do with any normal consideration like too heavy bullets.
Nothing normal causes bullets to tumble at such short distance.
As suggested, there's something much more abnormal happening.
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Old August 17, 2014, 11:36 AM   #11
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Is the rifle only new to you, or new out of the box? If it's new out of the box, it should be chambered for what it claims to be. Measure a fired and an unfired case and compare; they shouldn't differ by more than a few thou at the mouth and neck. Post the lengths and diameters at mouth, neck and base of shoulder of the fired case; I or someone else with "Cartridges of the World" can run a cross check if things are way different. that's bizarre. I'm inclined to take it back & get it looked at professionally if I were you.
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Old August 17, 2014, 11:54 AM   #12
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Unfortunately since Remington has bought Barnes the quality of Barnes bullets has gone down !!
Measure bore , measure bullets and case also.
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Old August 17, 2014, 12:03 PM   #13
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If it's a new gun, I'd take it back to the mfgr. Nothing you could have done to cause this. The bullets and your twist rate match up as far as I can tell.
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Old August 17, 2014, 12:03 PM   #14
g.willikers
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Isn't Barnes Bullets still in the same place, with the same staff as before?
In a recent podcast interview, unless I misunderstood (who me?), the only change was the name of the owners.
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Old August 17, 2014, 01:19 PM   #15
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Keyholing usually is caused by a bullet too long for the twist rate of the barrel. I'd check your twist rate with a tight patch and cleaning rod it's very easy to do. Once you find out what the twist is we can better help you.

Saw it's a Handi Rifle, this should be easy to diagnose.
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Old August 17, 2014, 01:54 PM   #16
Nathan
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His twist rate is spec'd as 1:16....Barnes reloading data is for 1:16. They don't seem to currently make the 180 anymore, but that would generally be shorter than the heavier current bullets.
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Old August 17, 2014, 01:58 PM   #17
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I'm wondering whether the barrel stamped .35 Whelen may be a .444 Marlin barrel in disguise, even chambered for .35 Whelen.
=========================================================
Check this out:

There's a service notice to dealers on the 35 Whelen FTF issue, it also includes some 35 Remingtons, the #72541 is a 35 Rem/444 Marlin combo.

I recommend anyone needing service for their H&R, 35 Whelen or otherwise, to call H&R and ask for a return shipping label so they can cover the cost of shipping to them, they don't advertise that they do this, but always do when asked, this is for any warranty service.


https://www.ellettbrothers.com/uploa...elendealer.pdf

Service Notice
9/13/10
To: H&R 1871 Dealers
Subject: 35 Whelen Handi-rifle
H&R 1871 has recently identified a small number of Handi-rifles in 35 Whelen caliber produced between
March 2010 and September 1st that could fail to fire under normal shooting conditions. This malfunction
presents no danger to the shooter, and the outcome is simply the firearm may fail to fire. The necessary
repair changes have been identified to correct this malfunction.
The affected guns are limited to the following H&R skus: 72540, 72612, 72412, 72614, 70705, 72541
If you have a customer return a H&R 35 Whelen rifle, and they have experienced a “fails to fire,” please
have the rifle returned to:
H&R 1871
Attn: Arm Service
14 Hoefler Ave
Ilion, NY 13357
We will make the necessary repair adjustments to the rifle at no charge and return to the sender as
expeditiously as possible.
Any rifles that you have received after September 15th, were produced with the corrective actions in place
and this malfunction should not be an issue on these rifles.
If you have any questions or if we can be of further service to you, please feel free to contact us at 1-866-
776-9292, prompt 4, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm EST. Please check out our website at www.hr1871.com
Thank you,

Consumer Service Division
H&R 1871
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Old August 17, 2014, 02:56 PM   #18
6.5swedeforelk
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Snowy, sure you're not giving us a "snow job"?

I've seen lots of tumbling bullet holes, but be darned if I've ever seen one with each bullet hitting the target perfectly parallel to it!!

Looks more like they were laid on & hammered thru.

April 1 ?
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Old August 17, 2014, 03:23 PM   #19
taylorce1
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Manufacturers make mistakes from time to time. If they accidentally put a barrel on for a .357 mag/max you'd have a 1:18.5" twist rate and it wouldn't stabilize the 180's. Measure the twist, then if it's correct search for other problems.
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Old August 17, 2014, 03:24 PM   #20
JD0x0
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Plugged in the data to Berger's twist calculator. The 1:16 twist has a Stability factor of 1.30 @ 0 degrees Fahrenheit, sea level with Barnes current 180 grain .358 cal bullet. This is considered 'marginally stable' but should NOT be key holing @ 20 yards, like the OP's picture is showing.

1:18.5 will NOT stabilize that bullet, as Taylor stated. It has a stability factor of .974 in those same conditions.

My best guess is it's a bore/bullet mismatch causing the bullet to not engage the rifling. Could you recover any of those bullets? If you can check for rifling impressions. It could be a .357 barrel with a slow twist that was mistakenly used, too.
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Old August 17, 2014, 04:09 PM   #21
Paul B.
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As no one else has asked, I will. Have you fired factory ammo in the rifle or just bought brass, made handloads and shot those If you shot factory, how did those bullets perform.
Not a .35 Whelen but years ago I was given a .243 that the owner said, "If you can make it shoot, it's yours. Otherwise throw it away." It would keyhole bullets at 25 yards regardless of weight. I tgrimmed the muzzle and squared it off before recrowning the barrel, slugged the bore to determine bore and groove diameter, both of which were in specs. Seated bullet so they'd engage the rifling and seated some at various depths all to no avail. One strange thing, the bore looked like a Marlin Microgroove. Marlin did make some rifles on FN Mausers as I recall and I'll bet that's where the barrel on that rifle came from. That one just wouldn't shoot. Even the throat looked good.
I think if the OP's rifle were mine, I'd get a few pure lead sinkers of the proper size and oil the bore and drive a couple down the barrel, one at a time. Three would be even better and use a good micrometer to determine the groove diameter. It should be .357" to .358". I'd examine the crown for any possible damage and I'd definitely check out the twist rate. If it's slower than 1 in 16" then the barrel needs to be replaced. A 1 in 16" will stabilize bullets up to 250 gr. and sometime, though rarely even stabilize 275 gr. bullets.
Currently I have three rifles in .35 Whelen, a Ruger M77RS, a Remington M700 Classic and a custom Mauser. The Mauser has a 1 in 14" twist and the two commercial rifles have 1 in 16" twists. My next planned custom will have a 1 in 12" twist which if I understand things correctly is what was originally used in the Whelen.
There is something radically wrong with that rifle and my money is on the barrel needing replacement.
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Old August 17, 2014, 04:09 PM   #22
snowy
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I can't recover the bullets. I will try to measure the bullet. I did has a previous poster commented and put the bullet into the muzzle and it would not go in all the way, which tells me it is getting to the rifling, I just bought a box of federal fusion and a box of Nosler accubond, form Midway. I will take it on a test fire next Sat when they get in. I'll post results. Tomorrow, I'm calling the gun shop I bought it from ( 3 hours away) and E mailing him pics and see what he has to say about it.
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Old August 17, 2014, 04:12 PM   #23
snowy
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Swedeforelk, No it's not a joke, but I know exactly what you mean, it's like they are not tumbling, but all of them are flying straight parallel ?
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Old August 17, 2014, 04:36 PM   #24
g.willikers
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From the look of the target, those bullets are trying to rotate completely around.
Make sure they don't get the notion to come back at ya'.
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Old August 17, 2014, 05:13 PM   #25
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That's really funny!
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